Working Man
rating: +6+x

I walked down a rusted staircase to a hallway ending at a metal door. The flickering ceiling lights illuminated its small keyhole. It was quiet, except for the sound of dripping water and the distant sounds of machines far upstairs. As my spindly limbs carried my grey frail body to the door, I searched with my three-clawed hands around my blood-stained leather bag. In it I searched for my set of keys. When I finally found the key ring, I rattled through them to find the correct one. Finally, I open the metal door into my dirty laboratory to find company.

In the far right corner of the lab, in a large cage, was a young nude man whose mouth was sewn shut. He stiffened with fright as I set my leather bag loudly on the operating table that sat in the center of the lab. I sniffed the air and caught wind of the man's scent. He smelled of Armenian origin. I stretch out one of the arms on my back to hit a set of light switches to see much better. The man then panicked as he gazed upon my fully illuminated body. I then went to the left of the room where a monitor hung on the wall along with an intercom and a chute. The chute had a letter in it, which I grabbed to read.

Good evening, Dr. Hamgullet

Starting from today, you are no longer going to be working on further production of new products. Instead, management requests you help create a better work force. The weak flesh of men already have their limits, and we want to achieve further than the maximum capacity. Currently, you have been provided with one test subject at the moment. Later today or tomorrow, we will have more subjects from the breeding pits for you.

Good luck, for we here at The Factory want results as usual.

I crumbled the paper, and tossed it into an empty bucket. I searched in my leather bag, and pulled out my equipment to begin my tedious work. I then went to the cage to grab the man as he cowered into a corner with tears streaming down his face. I lopped him onto the operating table and quickly tied the thick leather straps as I held him down. He tried to scream but that clearly caused him pain. It pulled his stitches, and blood began to ooze a little. It made him cry more and start struggling so I smacked him on the side of the head, which knocked him out. Finally, it was just silence and my craft.

I grabbed a set of long rusty scissors with one hand while another I held a drill. With elegance, I began drilling a hole into the front of the head as I cut the stitches along with bits of his lips. Another hand reached for a long scalpel that I used to begin cutting open the chest. Once I completed the hole in the head, I picked up a pump, which I connected to the hole and began pumping diesel. Next, I extracted the organs and placed them in a bucket, which would be sent to the Meat Processing sector.

I went and grabbed a large box containing mechanical parts from a corner among other stacked boxes, and brought it to the operating table. I picked up a small engine and analyzed it. A machine heart. Just what a sufficient worker needs…

Hours later, I had made crude replication of the human heart that nested in the chest cavity. I attached an antenna also onto the head through the hole so it may receive commands.

It was the first steps of progress, and after all that work I felt hungry. Luckily, it was about to be lunch break. I searched in my leather bag, and took out a brown lunch bag. Then, I went to the staff cafeteria and hoped to get there first before anyone.


I stood silently in the empty cafeteria with my lunch bag in between my claws. I gazed back and forth at the rows of tables. I chose to sit at a table at the far corner.

Once seated, I opened my lunch bag and pulled out its contents. First, I took out a neatly wrapped sandwich that contained ham, pork, and polar bear liver with some tomatoes. Next, I pulled out a fresh green apple (rotten ones didn't taste as good), and a can of carbonized Fun-Lover blood, one of my brilliant products.

As I unwrapped my sandwich, fellow employees began to enter the cafeteria. Some brought their own lunches while others got trays to be served by the cafeteria staff. I then took my first bite and stared downed. Everyone was getting seated while I sat alone. I hoped to remain undisturbed until I noticed in the corner of my eye a group of five approach ever so closer to me. Four of them were very small while the fifth was large and imposing, about three feet taller than me. I managed to get a better look at the four small ones, and saw they were gremlins.

"Mind if we sit here?" asked one of them softly as they sat regardless. The large one sits besides me while the other four sat across. Their presence began to make me feel uncomfortable.

"We don't see many of you R&D boys around these parts. I must say, you guys do excellent work for the company," the gremlin directly across from me said with a large toothy grin, "You especially. Dr. Hamgullet, right? I'm Jared. On my left is Graham and…"

How I badly wished for that frog-skinned gremlin to shut up. Its whiny voice was annoying. If it weren't for how good gremlins were with machines, The Factory wouldn't have mind me if I gauged out its amber eyes.

"…That big guy," the gremlin continued enthusiastically "is Oleg. He doesn't talk much."

I remained silent while I continued to eat my ruined meal. I badly wanted to enjoy it in peace without disturbance. I should have eaten in the lab.

"So I heard humans are going to be replaced…" said one of them in a curious tone. "You know anything about it?"

I said nothing. They were inferior as humans, and not worthy of an answer from me casually. They sounded like curious human children! Disgusting.

"Why?" they asked. Then, Oleg spoke to respond to their question. He had a thick Russian accent.

"Humans very weak. Break easily." The giant said while he took a bite of something and chewed loudly.

"Hmm, so Dr. Hamgullet, how-" the gremlin said before I interrupted.

I rose from the table and took my trash to the trash can. I finished eating, and I wanted to be back to the lab with my work. I needed to send it out. As I moved away, the gremlin spoke out to me, "See ya later then! Have a good day!"

Hmph.


We have received your prototype, Dr. Hamgullet. It is quite interesting, but it is…lacking. What good is a machine heart without a machine mind to guide it? We want it to be mindless, yes, but not to the point where it cannot not perform orders sufficiently. Correct this.

You have four new subjects, and a box of fresh material from the Crucible.

I scratched my head and looked at the cage to see the new subjects. One was a girl while the other three were boys. They huddled naked and sobbed quietly. I went to the cage and grabbed one of the boys. He frantically tried to escape my grasp as I placed him on the table. I grabbed a saw, and started to open his skull. I had work to do on the brain.

The boy kept screaming until I reached the brain. Next, I grabbed the sides and yanked the top of the skull off. I analyzed the then-exposed brain and gotten an idea. With my scalpel, I carved onto it an ancient symbol from a forgotten time that meant obedience, submissiveness, and elegance. Then, I placed it back into the head. To keep it in place, I placed a dirty glass dome over it that I glued. I turn the body over, and slowly moved my claws along the spine. The brain stem needed improvement too. After a tedious hour, I lined it with tesla coils connected to a battery where the kidney was. An outlet was also drilled in the head to connect it to the spine also.

Yet something felt lacking still as I finished installing the machine heart. I then turned to the caged girl and boys. They were staring at the opposite direction at a wall to avoid the sight of my creation. Once again, I went to them and grabbed another of the boys who desperately kicked at me. One arm of mine held him by the throat, and carried him near the operating table. After a brief moment of thought, I grabbed a device heavily resembling a chainsaw and turned it on. The boy had a stream of tears flow down his red checks as he tried to kick after hearing the machine buzz and whir. I proceeded to cut off his arms and legs with the chainsaw. As I did that, the boy and girl in the cage screamed in horror. My creation needed more limbs to accomplish greater tasks at once.

The blood dripped onto the floor as the life in the boy faded away. I snapped his neck and placed it besides the operating table on the floor. I took out my sowing kit, and dug through the box of new materials. I found me some ball-and-socket joints with other pieces of metal. I began to modify the severed arms with the ball-and-socket joints to allow for various rotation and movement. I then attached them to my creation along with the severed legs. It didn't felt enough so I turn once more to the two remaining subjects…


There was so much stitching up it made me work up a small appetite. I didn't pack any lunch this time so in hand I carried a tray, and went to be served food by the cafeteria staff. They looked human, but their bodies were disproportionate in various ways and they lacked a face. The one that served me a slop of minced maggots (never had enough salt on them) was tall, and one arm was longer than the other. It wore a cap, and a yellow and black stripped shirt with a slightly dirty apron. A silly looking thing.

I sat at another empty corner, but then I realized that the gremlin and its colleagues would sit where I am at. So I got up and proceeded to the exit with the tray. As I moved to the exit, I quickly noticed a sign warning not to take trays outside of the cafeteria under penalty of deduction in pay.

Why? I thought at that moment. I turned around and sat back at the table. I simply had to eat quickly until I was full, and so I did in a calm fashion. I then saw in the corner of my eye the gremlins and Oleg. I was halfway finished, but already full. To avoid them, I rose quickly, and at a slow pace, I moved to the exit. On the way was the tray return slot.

I was spared from their presence.


Good morning, Dr. Hamgullet.

The latest iteration you have delivered to us is astounding and sufficient. A marvelous improvement indeed.

Although, there is an issue concerning resource. It is too costly to attempt to mass produce this design. It be a waste of too many human subjects just to make each. Less is more. Regardless, we have it working in Sub Level 12 of the China facility.

Also, you have received three new subjects. Good luck.

I look up to the cage to only see two males within. Where was the third?

I went to the wall the monitor was at and pressed a switch. The screen came to life in a green tinge, and displayed the logo of The Factory. I pressed another button, and checked the memo logs for anything recent of a possible runaway. Nope, nothing.

I shambled to the intercom and spoke into it to make a report of it to the Manager. Unintelligible garbles, which I understood, responded and assured me they would be found. As I waited, it was the time for me to work once again.

As before, I forged the machine heart, and carved the symbols on the brain. For minutes, I stared off, pondering what do I do next. Finally, I had an idea.

I grabbed some ball-and-socket joints, and modified the arms like I did previously. I then proceeded to pick up my saw, and removed the hands to replace them with brass versions. They were also designed to be detachable to replace them in the event of damages that may occur or to switch them for a tool, such as a torch or drill. It was brilliant.

As I worked, a loud knock on the metal door disrupted my concentration. I went to answer it and was greeted by the Manager. He held a small bruised and bloodied boy by the arm with a tendril. Behind them was two members of security that stood silently with cattle rods by their side. They appeared as any ordinary human except they had no face. It was plain and smooth, but would open up to reveal a toothy maw if one tried to resist them. Nonetheless, they simply stood there silently as the Manager spoke to me.

The Manager informed me that he found the boy at the staff kitchen, and that he apologizes for any damages to him. The Manager described him as "feisty" and needed discipline. The Manager then lets go of the boy, and glided away with the two faceless members of security following behind. I grabbed the boy, and dragged him to the others locked in the cage. Shame, I hate damaged goods, but I could find some use, perhaps.

Back to the operating table, I stared at my creation. I felt it was finally ready.


Good morning, Dr. Hamgullet.

We are quite satisfied with your latest iteration. We request you provide instructions so we may begin mass production. For your efforts, you will receive an increase in pay.

The current working men of The Factory will become sufficient and profitable. Their old selves are officially obsolete.

Congratulations, Dr. Hamgullet. Now get back to work.

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